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Blog archive for February 2005


February 2, 2005

I have a growing feeling that when discussing theory with visual artists the field of topics generally understood to be part of “theory” is sometimes sereverly limitied as compared to what theoretical fields I have to touch upon in my own work.

Today I saw reports from some students at the academy evaluating the education given last semester and I got the feeling that to some of them “theory” is limited to topics of contemporary art and especially topics relating to conceptual art occationally touching philosophy. I’ve had similar impressions sometimes during some of the fellowship seminars when observing the strong contrasts in how visual artists and musicians understand and talk about “theory” as a discipline.

Being a sound artist I of course also have to relate to current trends of a long musical tradition. Sound art is more and more becoming a field in itself but also a branch of media art in general.

But then it’s everything relating to the craftmanship the technical knowledge skills understanding and development required in order to be able to do anything at all: Computer-based composition digital sound processing synthesis spatialisation programming sound engineering electronics video editing etc. Under what topic is this filed if it is not recognised as proper and vitaly important theory?

SDIF – Sound Description Interchange Format

February 2, 2005

All analysis data from AudioSculpt are now being exported as SDIF files. In order to be able to import data into MaxMSP I’ve looked into the SDIF format in the last week. I’ve never dealt with it before.

SDIF was developed from 1995 onwards as a proposed standardized file format for multiplatform interchange of spectral description. The goals of the SDIF format are stated in details here. The format is binary and well documented:

There’s also a lot of documentation and resources on the SDIF format at the Ircam server including documentation of IRCAM SDIF tools and utilities and the API of the IRCAM SDIF library:

SDIF was first decribed in an article by Wright et al. for ICMC 1998 and a more extensive article by
Wright et al.
for 107th AES Convention in 1999.

Support for SDIF in MaxMSP was first announced by Wright et al. at ICMC 1999 and released as alpha 0.5. Mac OS9 versions of the objects are available here while OSX versions of the objects are available here. AFAIK the objects have never been exported to Max for Windows XP.

Not all of the OS9 objects have been ported to OSX (yet). The GUI object SDIF-menu is only available for OS9 at the moment. Some of the externals described in the 1999 article do not seem to be publicly available at all: timemachine~ SDIF-stft~ and SDIF-istft~.

There was an “Analysis/Synthesis Comparison” panel session at ICMC2000 in Berlin moderated by Matthew Wright. For the session a collection of 27 sounds was used for the comparisments. A slide show from the panel is available and an extensive writeup of the panel session published in Organised Sound. The resulting analysis and sounds are also available. These might be interesting to consult and compare to for my own experimentation.

FTM do not support SDIF files yet but “import and export of SDIF files is currently being finalized and a score interchange format such as MusicXML will be supported in the near future”.

Verdensteatret performance

February 4, 2005

On February 27 the Norwegian Opera hosts a one-day conference on scenography for opera. For the closing of the seminar Verdensteatret has been invited to perform “Concert for Greenland”.

The conference is taking place at The Oslo National Academy of the Arts Grünerløkka Oslo.

Up the hill

February 4, 2005

The stuff I’m into at the moment feels like an endless spiral. Setting out to test out some ideas on additive synthesis I wanted to use FTM. Once I had gotten enough of an idea of what FTM is I started working on sound files in AudioSculpt. It turned out that analysis files are now exported from AudioSculpt in the SDIF format which I had to figure out what is and how to read.

The current Max externals for SDIF at the moment seems insufficient for what I want to do so I might have to write my own code using JavaScript in Max. There’s also an editor implemented in OpenMusic that I might have to look into. From before I didn’t know much about AudioSculpt and JavaScript and nothing about FTM SDIF or OM…

Yeah yeah yeah – up the hill backwards

It’ll be alright ooo-ooo


February 4, 2005


anaglyphical stereophotography digital print
sound 90 × 110 cm.
Andrea Sunder-Plassmann 1959 Berlin
(idea concept images)
Trond Lossius 1966 Bergen


. The trickster is an important archetype in the history of man who rebels against authority pokes fun at the serious. He exists to question &amp not accept things blindly. We seem most accessible to the gifts of the Trickster when we ourselves are at or near boundaries or are experiencing transition. As an archetype the Trickster the boundary dweller finds expression through human imagination and experience…

The protagonists are young women at the age of 8-16 who are in transition and need to their individual definition of the world and themselves their own space and existence. They seem to live in another reality beyond that of parents and teachers. Many of these girls have idols figures onto which they project their fantasies. With the help of a makeup artist they will be transformed into their dream figure to be photographed with a stereo camera. The photographs will be printed life seize and will be seen with stereo glasses.


Me and my collegue at the Art Academy Andrea Sünder-Plassman collaborate on a series of three works for Vestlandsutstillingen 2005 opening today. This is a group exhibition touring several galleries in western Norway for a year.

Unfortunately the recording I was going to use as the basis for the sound got lost in the post and the takes from germany had to be done again. This has delayed development of the sound severely and the sound won’t be present until the second exhibition in a months time.

Trickster (2005)

February 5, 2005

By Andrea Sunder-Plassmann and Trond Lossius.

The trickster is an important archetype in the history of man who rebels against authority, pokes fun at the serious…He exists to question & not accept things blindly…We seem most accessible to the gifts of the Trickster when we ourselves are at or near boundaries or are experiencing transition. As an archetype, the Trickster, the boundary dweller, finds expression through human imagination and experience


February 7, 2005

Mike Harding of Touch was giving a presentation at BEK Saturday. Two very interesting hours and then we all went out to have a few beers. I spent the rest of the evening talking with him.

Truax remix

February 7, 2005
  • Mac laptop
  • Mozilla Firefox installed
  • broadband connection


Quickly load all MP3s in seperate tabs so that they all play at the same time.

Reading SDIF files in FTM

February 8, 2005


Diemo Schwatz recently posted an example on how to import SDIF files into FTM. Late last night I had it working. Major step forward. The data is read as a track of float matrixes.

I’ve also made a JavaScript for calculating Chebyshev polynomials as well as a Max patch using FTM to calculate Chebyshev polynomials. The latter is less intuitive but it was a useful practise for my own sake.

Up next: Understanding how to do good analysis of partial tracking in AudioSculpt and how to filter or quality check the data before applying them in FTM.

Hans Abrahamsen lecture

February 9, 2005

Yesterday I attended a presentation by the Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen at the Grieg Academy. I didn’t know his music beforehand but I really liked it in particular the 10 studies for piano. Afterwards we all went out to eat.

It’s very seldom that composers living in Bergen meet in this way but we have to do it again. Very nice evening.

I’m not always impressed with record labels releasing contemporary music. The sound on some of the recordings was awful way to much mid range fequency and no hi at all. In addition their philosophy seems to be very simple: “Let’s cram as much as we can into it.” There seems to be a fundamental lack of understanding that the CD medium should be approached as a way of presenting art works in itself and not just as a documentation of existing music.

I suggested to Hans that he should try to get the 10 piano studies released as a set of four CDs or mini-CDs. The studies are grouped into 4 sections with a lot of cross-references and symetrical conserns in the over-all form:

  • IV: 1-4
  • III: 5-7

  • II: 8-9
  • I: 10

Although the studies doesn’t last more than approx. 20 minutes altogether this would have communicated the form of the music in a much stronger way. Also there should be more silence between the tracks.

I love spam

February 9, 2005

Best thing that can HAPPEN t0 me in the m0rning when I check the mai| is t0 have 7 mai|s in the m a i n inb0x and they a|| turn out t0 be spam mai|s. SUDDen|y I fee| as if I have saved myse|f h0urs of w0rk.

The creative language of the mails is an extra bonus and can often come to use in projects. Today I received a spam mail with the subject:

Ste||ar research pOints the way t0 maximizing success

If I Jeremy and Jon Arne are ever going to write a text on LMW as an artist research and development project this is the perfect title to use.


February 9, 2005

SoX is a handy little open-source utility for batch convertion of sound files on Mac OSX.

Tracking partials in AudioSculpt

February 9, 2005


February 10, 2005

HyperPhysics is an exploration environment for concepts in physics which employs concept maps and other linking strategies to facilitate smooth navigation. For the most part it is laid out in small segments or “cards” true to its original development in HyperCard. The section on Sound and Hearing contains a lot of information on sound and acoustics presented in a very condensed and precise way.

There’s also Hypermath a similar presentation of math and its application.

SoundLab Channel – edition II

February 11, 2005

The net based sound piece …different from the one you are in now… today was announced as part of the ®®[F]2005—-&gt XP and ConcertHall at Le Musee di-visioniste SoundLab Channel. It’s also part of the physical events series in Palestine Israel and Germany entitled IMPACT ME’05 starting on 17 February at
CAVE Gallery at Bethlehem International Center/Palestine.

SoundLab Channel – edition II

ConcertHall at
Le Musee di-visioniste
is very proud to launch edition II of.
SoundLab Channel -
a joint-venture with
“Memory Channel 7” of this
global networking project by
by Agricola de Cologne media artist and
New Media curator from Cologne/Germany -
and part of the physical events series in Palestine Israel and Germany
entitled: IMPACT ME’05 starting on 17 February at
CAVE Gallery at Bethlehem International Center/Palestine
SoundLab Channel
a project environment which is focussing
on non-visual aspects of “collective memory”
manifested in soundart -
is happy to include on this occasion online
three (3) new curatorial contributions -
a) from Sofia/Bulgaria —>
Ivan Bachev curator and soundartist
is curating soundart works by these Bulgarian artists
b) from Montreal/Canada – a second curatorial contribution
by Tobias Van Veen
who is curating soundart works by
c) soundart works by individual artists
curated by Melody Parker Carter
based on an open call in Internet
—→ featuring
Benjamin B. Kinsley Peter Prautzsch
Caroline de Lannoy Serge Smilovich
eduardo paz carlson Marcello Mercado
Simon Longo Ludovic Guerry
Catherine Clover Lee Welch
Arie van Schutterhoef gregory chatonsky
Cezary OSTROWSKI nick barker and rob jacobs
Matt Rogalsky Nicholas Ruiz III
ricardo miranda zuñiga Hervé Constant
Trevor Thomas Oren Ben Yosef
Jennifer Helia DeFelice Miika Nyyssonen
Darko Vuckovic Cheryl HENG and WhooKiat HENG
Trond Lossius AGGTELEK
Abinadi Meza Future Remix
Beat Suter and René Bauer Colin Black
KPHB Helga’s Ephemeris
Maria Blondeel Le Tuan Hung
yosuke hayashi Jonathan Cardillo
Maral Yakshieva Alexander Kharkovsky
Les Riches Douaniers (((controller-band
Gildardo Cruz Rojas &amp Alfredo Ramírez Castruita
Igor Baskin HarS – Harold Schellinx
Jeanne Fremaux mutantlab.
d) a soundart feature
extracted from soundart programs of Internet radio stations:
this time again from Kunstradio (Vienna/Austria)
featuring radio and soundartists from Serbia
including Arsenije Jovanovic Gordan Paunovic Ivana Stefanovic
Aleksandar Vasiljevic Robert Klajn and others.
SoundLab Channel will be part of the interactive installation at
CAVE Gallery in Bethlehem both online and offline from DVD..
SoundLabChannel – edition I
includes 6 curatorial contributions by
Tobia Van Veen (Canada) John Kannenberg (USA)
Eva Sjuve (Norway) Juan Antonio Lleo (Spain)
Zoe Drayton (New Zealand) and
Melody Parker Carter (Germany) -
and a feature of Australian Radio &amp Soundart.
Both SoundLab Channel editions incorporate more than 100 artists
from 25 countries and more than 100 soundart works
and form a unique collection of non-visual art
related to the theme “memory and identity”
SoundLab Channel
can be accessed via
artistic body – Memory Channel 7
is part of
Flash 7 plug-in required
DSL Internet connection recommended. 

Sound spatialisation

February 11, 2005

The last few days have seen a very interesting thread on the MaxMSP list concerning how to deal with multi-speaker setups for installations. A few days ago I posted the distance-based amplitude panning approach I used for the Living room project in Trondheim in 2003.

Michael Zbyszynski has emphasized the importance of using delays as time cues separated by Greater than more than about 10 ms tend to override the amplitude cues (the precedence effect). Today he posted an example patch illustrating how he did this for one of his installations.

I’ve always thought that delays would be very sensitive to the position of the audience and hence not work well in a situation where the notion of a sweet spot do not adhere. His mail yesterday made me think once more about it and realize that he’s right. He’s also pointed me towards a book that looks very interesting: Spatial Hearing: Psychophysics of human Sound Localization by Jens Blauert.

Flat-panel loudspeakers

February 13, 2005

I can imagine a lot of interesting things to do with this kind of loudspeakers.

Video documentation from Electrohype

February 16, 2005

I’ve just finished the video documentation of the installation in collaboration with Kurt Ralske for Electrohype 2004. It was about time: In an hour I’m going to give a presentation of recent works for Ny Musikk Bergen a local association for contemporary music.

Question posted to the 255 mailing list:

If I’ve been rendering a quicktime movie how long do I have to wait for the pixels to dry before I can play it? If I play it to early do I risk destroying the qt movie by pixels being smeared out creating an unintended motion blur effect?


February 20, 2005

VSamp is “a software sample player for the Macintosh”.

I’ve never worked on samplers but right nor it turned out to have a useful ability of converting SoundFonts to Sound Designer II files.

Why? Because I’m making some very good progress at the eigenfunction stuff I’ve been working on for the last few weeks and now I need more samples for testing reasons.

Loudspeaker fetishism II

February 22, 2005


I thought that I was a loudspeaker fetishist but look at this great picture of an installation by Robert Worby. I know he’s been buying used loudspeakers at eBay but apart from that I don’t know much about what he’s up to. I would not be surprised if it in some way relate to his article a year ago in The Guardian on loudspeakers.

Analysis processing and synthesis tools

February 23, 2005

An article by Xavier Rodet on Sound analysis processing and synthesis tools for music research and production presents

a set of analysis processing and synthesis tools developed at Ircam and the efforts pursued to keep such programs alive through the years to develop new ones and to allow different
programs from a given institution or from various institutions to easily manage exchange and
maintain analysis and synthesis data. The analysis/synthesis (a/s) methods and programs which are
presented are signal models: Formant Wave-form (FOF) synthesis Resonance Modeling analysis
Spectral Envelope a/s Sinusoidal+Residual Additive a/s and Pitch Synchronous Overlap Add
(PSOLA) a/s. One of the key elements for easy usage success and perennity of all these programs
is the Sound Description Interchange Format (SDIF) invented and implemented in collaboration
with other institutions to allow programs to easily deal with and exchange a/s data. Finally
examples of musical applications and pieces produced with our programs are given.

The article seems to give a lot of useful background information conserning the various methods of analysis and synthesis discussed in the Analysis/Synthesis Comparison panel session at ICMC2000.

(Some previous blog entries on the same subject: SDIF FTM SDIF and FTM.)


February 23, 2005

is so sexy.

via the piksel mailing-l.

Bruce Neuman at Tate

February 24, 2005

There’s an exhibition or installation by Bruce Neuman at Tate Modern at the moment. The web page in itself is worth looking at as an interesting way of documenting an exhibition on the web.

According to a post on the Max mailing list the installation uses some kind of wall-mounted planar speakers to give tightly localised beams of sound in the vast and reverberant space of the Turbine Hall. Ten metres away from the speaker the width of the beam is still only a couple of metres or less almost silent outside that zone.

Conculting the oracle

February 24, 2005

I’m uncertain about one of the tracks I’m working on for Trickster right now. I’m not sure if it’s finished or if i’m happy about it. The oracle responded by asking:

- What would your closest friend do?

Jon Arne’s office is next to mine so I guess he’s the closest. I went to have a coffe with him and came back with two ideas: Paint something white on top of it almost masking it and approaching it by working on something else.

White – as in white noise?


February 24, 2005

CubicNavigator is a browser and slideshow presenter for VR panoramas. It can retrieve and display several panoramic formats from the web or your hard drive and display them using hardware accelerated OpenGL.

Listening to Eno

February 25, 2005

Listening to various music from Eno installations particularly Kite Stories and The Shutov Assembly (The Shutov Assembly contains excerpts from various installations 1985-1990) two qualities strike me at the moment:

There’s an abundant variety of sonic sources embeded in each track. Compared to Ambient Music 1 Discrete Music Neroli and Thursday Afternoon the sonic landscapes created seems richer. Most of the tracks are probably created using the same kind of layering technique used for Music for Airports 2/1 but now using a number of CD players in shuffle mode instead of tape loops. For the records I guess this kind of random mode is simulated in a multitrack sequencer.

Also the sonic events seems to be further elaborated as compared to 2/1. Each sonic event in 2/1 is made up from a single sustained note (processed voice). In the later works the sonic events generally seems to be more complexs creating small gestures phrases or fragments or chordal or melodic substance but generally not becoming as long as the melodic sequences used for 1/1 or Discrete Music.